FROM FRANKLIN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE PHILLIP J. SHEPHERD,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-CI-00209
FOR APPELLANT: Aaron Reed Baker Assistant Public Advocate
FOR APPELLEE: Brenn O. Combs Frankfort, Kentucky.
BEFORE: ACREE, DIXON, AND JONES, JUDGES.
Cole Meacham appeals from an order entered by the Franklin
Circuit Court that dismissed his petition for declaration of
rights. We affirm.
August 2014, Meacham, an inmate at the Kentucky State
Reformatory, sought an administrative review of his sentence
calculation. Meacham cited the 2010 amendment to KRS
197.045(1), asserting he was entitled to educational good
time credit for completing three treatment
programs between 1999 and 2002. The Department of
Corrections (DOC) denied his request for credit because the
2010 amendment did not apply retroactively. Meacham then
filed a petition for declaration of rights in Franklin
Circuit Court. In response, the DOC moved to dismiss the
petition pursuant to CR 12.02(f). In its written order
dismissing Meacham's petition, the circuit relied on an
unpublished decision of this Court, Everman v.
Thompson, 2013-CA-000972-MR, 2014 WL 1156246 (Mar. 21,
2014) (disc. rev. denied Oct. 15, 2014), which held the 2010
amendment did not retroactively apply to inmates who
completed treatment programs prior to the effective date of
the amendment. This appeal followed.
dismissal for failure to state a claim presents only
questions of law; accordingly, our review is de novo.
Morgan v. Bird, 289 S.W.3d 222, 226 (Ky. App. 2009).
concedes Everman is factually on point; however, he
contends it should not be considered persuasive authority
because the holding is incorrect. Essentially, Meacham
believes, because the statutory language does not explicitly
prohibit retroactive application, the legislature intended to
award credit to prisoners who completed programs prior to
2010. In support of his argument, he points out "the
General Assembly need not use magic words - instead, all that
is required is that the enactment make it apparent that
retroactivity was the intended result." Commonwealth
ex rel. Conway v. Thompson, 300 S.W.3d 152, 167 (Ky.
argument is unpersuasive. There is simply no indication,
express or implied, the legislature intended the treatment
credit provision to apply retroactively. It is
well-settled, "Kentucky law prohibits the amended
version of a statute from being applied retroactively to
events which occurred prior to the effective date of the
amendment unless the amendment expressly provides for
retroactive application." Commonwealth Dep't. of
Agriculture v. Vinson, 30 S.W.3d 162, 168 (Ky. 2000). We
conclude the 2010 statutory amendment was not retroactive;
consequently, Meacham was not entitled to a sentence credit
for programs completed before the effective date of the
Meacham contends his right to equal protection was violated
when the DOC awarded credit to other prisoners who completed
the treatment programs after the effective date of the
conclusory allegation is without merit. A prisoner cannot
establish "a violation of his equal protection rights
simply by showing that other inmates were treated
differently. He would have to show that he was victimized
because of some suspect classification, which is an essential
element of an equal protection claim." Newell v.
Brown, 981 F.2d 880, 887 (6th Cir. 1992). After careful
review, we conclude the circuit court properly dismissed
Meacham's petition because he was not entitled to relief
as a matter of law.
reasons stated herein, we affirm the ...